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Lest We Forget…

Today, am taking a respite from my usual job search blog post to remember those who gave their lives in the pursuit of peace – something the world continues to struggle with – to those who continue to serve, and to those have returned to an uncertain future.

While watching MSNBC this morning, I heard Richard Liu, one of the network’s anchors, mentioned the name John McCrae and showed the Poem, “In Flanders’ Field”. I wondered aloud if Liu knew that Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was Canadian, and that he penned that poem on December 8, 1915.

Each November 11, I send around John McCrae’s poem to people in my network, because I believe it speaks volumes. Last year, I wrote a blog post 11 Things You Can do Between 11 AM and 11 PM On 11/11/11. Today, I want all of us to pause from whatever we are doing to reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, as well as those who continue to serve and protect. Let us never forget!

Additional reading: Great Canadian War Project

 

How to Spend a Little and Give a Lot

Well, this article is not my usual career or job search post. Far from it! It’s about spending a little and giving a lot!

The Giving Season is here! I don’t know about you, but since September I have been asked to support a number of causes – marathons, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Cancer Society, Sickle Cell, Child Find, and others. While I could not afford to contribute to all, I made a donation to most.

My daughter, having taken part in the fundraising event for the Juvenile Diabetes through her work, decided that this Christmas she is taking up a cause and chose Canadian Feed the Children.

This brings me to other ways that one can make a contribution that does not take a lot of time or money. Since 2010, I have been a part of Kiva. I started with a $25 donation to a woman business owner in Rwanda. As soon as she repaid the ‘loan’, I loaned the same $25 to a group in the Dominican Republic. Kiva sent me an email this week to say the group has repaid that loan. Now, that $25 is available to be lent to someone else. That one $25 is being recycled!

This week I received an update from Kiva about the first loan I had made:

“Thank you for supporting Providence with your loan. With the loan, she bought general store. Providence says that the loan helped the business because she was increasing her business by buying more quantity of milk, juice, water and so on. With the profits, Providence was able to pay children’s school fees and medical insurance…”

This is one way of spending a little and giving a lot. Join Kiva and help someone realize their entrepreneurial dream. Kiva

For several years I have sponsored a little boy in Haiti through the International Child Care Ministry of the Free Methodist Church. A year or so before my Mom passed away she also chose to sponsor a little girl in Haiti through the church. Since she has passed, I have been soldering on with both of these children, but feel I might have to give up sponsorship of the little girl. Of course, each time I think of it, I get a lump in my throat, but I will see how it goes.

A few weeks ago, a client of mine sent an email telling me (and others) about her son who fell down the stairs, and in one minute, became a paraplegic. She, too, is seeking donations for his care. She gave me permission to mention her story. Although the fundraiser has passed she is still accepting donations online at Gabe’s Back on Track. Here’s their YouTube video: Gabe.

Finally, I was watching MSNBC recently and discovered K.I.N.D. – Kids In Need of Desks – a UNICEF charity supported by Lawrence O’Donnell. It’s amazing what we take for granted when there are kids attending schools without desks. You can help here too. Visit KIND.

My point in mentioning these stories is to say that as you make plans for the holidays, consider how you could spend a little and give a lot. Small donations do matter, and it doesn’t matter which charity you choose. It could be one in your backyard!

All the best,

 

 

Monday Rx: The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

It has been raining on and off for a few days in my neck of the woods, and it is quite dark right now; yet I know that the sun will come out tomorrow.

Are you still waiting on the phone to ring for that job you so desperately need? Have you heard ‘No’, once too often? Are you stuck in a rut feeling you have done everything you possibly could? Whatever you are going through right now, it’s not permanent. The dark clouds will subside and the sun is going to come out tomorrow; if not tomorrow, the day after.

May these quotes add some sunshine to your day:

  • Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Thomas Edison.
  • Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle. ~ Christian D. Larson
  • When life seems hard, when you want to quit, look deep inside to find your spark to rekindle your fire. @MikeMoore
  • The road to a better tomorrow starts at the intersection of fear and faith. You can either yield onto insecurity lane, or you can take a deep breath and put the pedal to the metal on the courage freeway. ~David Roppo (Thanks to +Lisa K. Smith for this one)

If these Monday Morning picker-uppers are benefiting you, then they might benefit others in your circle. Have them subscribe to the RSS feed above to get each post.

To your success,

 

Good Neighbours – A 911 Tribute

While reading my Daily Bread yesterday (Saturday), I found the following:

“When US airspace was closed after the September 11, 2001, attacks, planes had to land at the closest airport available. Nearly 40 planes landed in Gander, Newfoundland. Suddenly this small Canadian community almost doubled in size when thousands of frightened passengers arrived. People opened their homes, and officials converted high schools, lodges, churches, and meeting halls into places to stay. Stranded passengers were overwhelmed with neighborly generosity and kindness.” (Our Daily Bread)

Canada played a crucial role at that time. Today, let us be neighbourly and remember the families of the thousands of individuals who lost their lives, including 24 Canadians and 26 Jamaicans.

We cannot forget!

 

 

 

Monday Rx: Value Has a Value Only if its Value is Valued

The headline for this post is really a tongue-twister, so read it again for clarity.

Today is Labour / Labor Day in Canada and the US, but am still sending  my message, albeit a shortened version. It’s a 30-second speech from Bryan Dyson, the former CEO of Coca Cola.

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. They are Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit, and you are keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you dropped one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.

Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family and friends and have proper rest. Value has a value only if its value is valued.”

Whatever you are doing right now, take a moment to reflect on the message and evaluate your priorities. I am doing just that today!

To your success,

 

Tips for Moms Returning to Work – Part III

Are you a mom preparing to return to the workforce in the New Year? Read Tip #3:

Choosing the right résumé format. Employers tend to prefer the chronological résumé, which gives a historical timeline of your work experience, but this becomes problematic when you have been away from the workforce for a time. As an alternative, you could use the functional format which focuses on notable skills and accomplishments gained from a number of jobs. Use headings such as Administration, Fundraising, Event Planning and Project Management, and list your activities and achievements under those headings. Another alternative is to use a combination format, beginning with a value statement or professional summary that answers the employer’s question, “What should we hire you?” Below is an example:

VALUE STATEMENT

Juggled several tasks as president of school council and chair of membership committee of the local Girl Guides Club. Negotiated sponsorship opportunity with a major retail chain enabling the club to increase membership from 25 to 80 within 5 months. Initiated and led the first Neighbourhood Watch group in Lakeside, significantly reducing incidences of trespassing by 25%. Used Excel to create a budget for a family of five, monitoring it on a weekly basis to ensure there were no overruns. Managed bookkeeping responsibilities for a sole proprietor and implemented an aggressive collections policy that increased cash flow by 30%.

The above summary is an example of how you could incorporate your family and civic involvement into your résumé. The aim is to be creative and bring together your outside professional involvement as well as your related child-rearing activities.

2009 Awards of Excellence

While I was nominated for two awards this year – ONESTEP 2009 Awards of Excellence (The Ontario Network of Employment Skills Training Projects), and Career Professionals of Canada’s “2009 Award of Excellence”, .

cpc-aoe-final-2009

It’s not possible to post all the documentation related to the nominations, so I have listed few highlights:

1.

My book: No Canadian Experience, eh? A Career Survival Guide for New Immigrants Letters of acknowledgement were received from: The Right Hon. Governor General Michaëlle Jean, MPP Linda Jeffrey, and former Minister of Citizenship & Immigration, Hon. Mike Colle, who cited in a letter that the book “is an excellent resource tool”.

A publisher of career books in Toronto remarked in an email that he “was pleasantly surprised to see so much valuable information for a segment of the population that was largely ignored in regards to the job search.”

2.

I was also nominated for the 2009 One Step Award of Excellence for my work on the Pathway to Success for Women – Life Skills and Career Options Program.

“Certain areas were not originally included in the curriculum, but based on her assessment of the needs of each group, she was able to incorporate small business information and interviewing techniques into the program. In an effort to enhance the Personal & Professional Communication section of the program, she took several of the women on field trips to attend meetings of Toastmasters.” ~ Wanda Marsman, Assistant Manager, COSTI Immigrant Services.

******

“No Canadian Experience, Eh?” … is unique and exceptional because it is the first and only resource for foreign trained professionals that focuses solely on the issue of lacking Canadian experience as a main hurdle impeding their employment integration in their fields of training and experience.” ~Dr. Yamil Alonso, Program Director BNRC, Brampton

******

“Daisy Wright was inspirational, motivating and passionate about this program.  It is her genuine need to help people that made this program more enjoyable”. Program Participant.


3.

Opportunities 2008 Conference – Co-presenter on Session – “Wanted:  A Mentoring Model for Employers to Ensure Successful Workforce Integration of New Immigrants”. This was an attempt to get service providers to engage employers in understanding the value that Internationally-Educated Professionals could bring to their organizations.

4.

My work as Career Advisor to The Link, a radio program on CBC Radio Canada International (Since February 2008).

What Some Employers Look for in a Résumé

Welcome to another of my `Career Musings`.

It is known in resume circles that the only rule in resume writing is that there are no rules. The important thing is strategy.  Yet, the other day, a client of mine who works with a city government asked his HR Director for some resume advice, and this is what he got. It`s reproduced without edits:

  • Resume – no more than 2 pages, including Cover Letter
  • Resume should mirror position applying for. Keep the employer’s intent in mind
  • No gaps of previous job
  • Career progression very important
  • Formatting: No CAPS
  • No Objective
  • No Roman Font
  • Employment First
  • Education History Last
  • List all job related qualities, functions of job applying for
  • Tangibles and stakeholder management
  • List what learned in different jobs
  • Build job history
  • Demonstrate fairness, honesty
  • Communicate to fit profile
  • Have a Customer Service approach

It would appear that from the Director’s perspective, these are absolutes, and probably, if a resume comes across his desk with anything less than the above, it would be thrown aside.  What are your thoughts?

Lying on Resumes is More Common Than You Think!

“Official Résumé Wrong”! That was the headline in the Sports section of a popular newspaper a few years ago, when it was discovered that the then manager of a major league baseball team had inaccuracies in his bio. He was not an “All-American basketball player” and he did not “play basketball at UCLA prior to signing with the Dodgers”. When asked by the sportswriter, the manager admitted the statements were incorrect, and said he should be judged by what he does on the field, not by what’s written about him.

Four years ago, it was widely reported in newspapers and on the Internet that an individual who was planning to purchase a football team had to revise his Fact Sheet because it contained numerous errors. He did not play in the NFL nor the CFL, neither did he play in the Little League World Series when he was 11 years old. And, he has a degree in social work, not “a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Finance,” as his original bio claimed.

These occurrences are not confined to sports. There have been incidents where individuals were caught misrepresenting themselves as doctors, lawyers or professors. There was the man who practiced medicine in the US and Canada for 10 years before it was found out he never had a medical degree. Then there was the politician who had to quit his caucus when it was revealed he never attended law school as he claimed on his résumé, and in 2008, the British-born chef with a once successful cooking show in the US, cooked up a lie that he had been a chef at Buckingham Palace, and was even knighted.

The offenders are not always men, if you are beginning to wonder. Some years ago, a former deputy minister of health in a Canadian Province resigned from her position because she inflated her academic and professional credentials when she claimed to have been “working as a visiting professor at Princeton”. The former Dean at MIT had to resign her position when it was discovered she lied about her academic credentials. These are not the regular Joe or Mary, but people in ‘high places’. The big question is why do people misrepresent themselves on their résumés? Is it because of increased competition in today’s job market, a desire to stand out from the crowd, or is it a longing for prestige? The answser could be all of the above.

A study conducted by a reference checking firm in Toronto some time ago, found that 27% of applicants embellished their educational backgrounds; 25% lacked job knowledge and 19% were dismissed or not eligible for rehire. The company randomly selected 1000 job applicants on whom they had conducted reference checks and education verifications, and found that 35% of these candidates presented “red flags”. These candidates were already successful in the interview process and their positions ranged from general office to senior executives.

“Résumé fraud takes the form of exaggerated skills or duties at a previous job or a concealed termination”, said the Company’s co-founder and Vice President. The company suggests that organizations “check before they hire” as a way of protecting themselves from unexpected court costs, liability concerns and tarnished brand identity.

In such a competitive marketplace, it is tempting to twist facts, but before you do, think of the consequences when the truth is known. If you are currently pursuing a program at college or university, don’t state that you already have the degree or diploma. If you worked on a project as part of a team, be clear about it. Don’t give the employer the impression you did it all alone. It’s fine to highlight, and sometimes brag, about your achievements, because employers want to know what you have done with your talents, but exaggerating the facts to gain an edge over other candidates, is not the right thing to do.

How to Update Your Job Skills When Unemployed

The fact that you are unemployed does not mean you should not be updating your skills. Find time to take a course (in-person or online); add advanced skills; connect with your peers in professional associations; join local interest groups; or create a blog and write about your industry.

Click here to read the full article by Dawn Fallik of the Wall Street Journal.